Exploring the experience of post-stroke fatigue in community dwelling stroke survivors: A prospective qualitative study

Jennifer Helen White, Kimberley R. Gray, Parker Magin, John Attia, Jonathan Sturm, Gregory Carter, Michael Pollack

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62 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To explore the experience of post-stroke fatigue in community-dwelling stroke survivors with and without post-stroke mood disturbance within one year of stroke. Methods: This was a prospective qualitative cohort study including semistructured interviews undertaken at baseline (stroke onset), 3, 6, 9 and 12 months in 23 stroke survivors; eight single interviews were held with "supplementary" participants. Qualitative data analysis involved an inductive thematic approach using a process of constant comparison. Results: Thirty-one participants (17 men, 14 women; age range 3794 years) took part in 122 interviews. The majority of participants was independent and experienced few major depressive symptoms. Three trajectories emerged regarding the participants' experiences of fatigue including experience of fatigue, coping strategies and knowledge. Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that in spite of reasonable objective physical recovery post-stroke, fatigue in community-dwelling stroke survivors may be disabling. The use of qualitative methodology was sensitive in identifying the factors that play a role in the experience of fatigue. The essential role of health professionals in this context is to provide support and education regarding fatigue and to promote participation after stroke in therapy programs. Routine practice for stroke services should include fatigue advice prior to discharge. Implications for Rehabilitation Issues regarding fatigue are of major importance to stroke survivors. Allied health can play a significant role in providing training regarding management of fatigue symptoms to assist maintain community participation. Allied health professions have an important role in assisting stroke survivors to transition through feelings of loss and in providing education concerning new skills to assist manage symptoms of fatigue post-stroke.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1376-1384
Number of pages9
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Fatigue
  • Qualitative
  • Rehabilitation
  • Stroke
  • Stroke outcomes

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